October 20, 2000

LIB

David Anderson

Liberal

Hon. David Anderson (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in the tirade of the hon. leader of the New Democratic Party there is one element that is totally absent, and that is the fact of the Canadian constitution. The federal government does not have the power to walk into every problem in the country simply because the problem exists, whether it is at the municipal level or the provincial level.

Why is it that she thinks that simply because there is a problem the federal government should take over? There is a problem with illiteracy. That does not mean that this government should set up educational programs for every child in the country.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
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PC

Joe Clark

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Kings—Hants, PC)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister.

The Toronto airport authority was granted a $185 million rent reduction just after it signed its lease agreement. The auditor general said “The department could not provide us with the rationale”.

I have two questions for the Deputy Prime Minister. First, why was the rent reduced by a whopping $185 million? Second, was any minister directly or indirectly advised of or involved in discussions that led to that decision?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Transport
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph E. Goodale (Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Transport, I am obviously not in a position to express personal knowledge of the subject matter. However, because of the interest of the leader of the Conservative Party, I will undertake to find a detailed response for him and provide that to him, if possible, later this day.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Transport
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PC

Joe Clark

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Kings—Hants, PC)

Mr. Speaker, that raises a very interesting issue about how this parliament is able to function and get at facts that need to be known and conduct public business that needs to be carried out.

There was obviously a range of questions raised by the auditor general. The government has agreed to a special meeting at 12.30 p.m. today. That obviously will not allow the House to pursue the questions that arise from the report.

Let me ask the Deputy Prime Minister, will the government agree right now to a second meeting of the public accounts committee on Monday to allow the House of Commons to have a full examination of the—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Transport
Permalink
?

The Speaker

The hon. government House leader.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Transport
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LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I can assist the right hon. member in answering the question about the Toronto airport authority.

The airport was treated in a comparable manner to other airports. However, in the case of Pearson airport, the financial projections could not be updated immediately prior to the transfer because of ongoing legal actions involving terminal 2, and three major projects had to be completed by Transport Canada prior to the transfer. That required a one time financial adjustment to the lease to take into account the three unfinished projects to which I have just referred.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Transport
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REF

Grant McNally

Reform

Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader can huff and puff, but everybody knows that the reason a second meeting with the auditor general is being scheduled today is that the Liberals got caught trying to sneak away from their scandalous record.

They snub the auditor general—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Auditor General's Report
Permalink
?

The Speaker

Order, please. We are going a little bit far here in our language. We are not to impugn motives in any of our questions or in our answers. I will ask the hon. member to please to go his question.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Auditor General's Report
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REF

Grant McNally

Reform

Mr. Grant McNally

Mr. Speaker, given the track record of arrogance, incompetence and mismanagement on behalf of this government—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Auditor General's Report
Permalink
?

The Speaker

Order, please. Put the question right now, please.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Auditor General's Report
Permalink
REF

Grant McNally

Reform

Mr. Grant McNally

The question, Mr. Speaker, is, how can Canadians possibly trust the government to govern the country?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Auditor General's Report
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LIB

Herb Gray

Liberal

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the question could be put to the Alliance, after we have the facts now about the $440 million Alberta Conservative government boondoggle involving the Swan Hills plant at a time when the Leader of the Opposition was part of that government. How can anybody trust the Leader of the Opposition and the Alliance Party when they seek the mandate of Canadians?

Canadians will know that it is this government and this party that deserve their confidence, not the Alliance or any of the other opposition parties.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Auditor General's Report
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REF

Grant McNally

Reform

Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, Canadians will not be fooled by another diversionary tactic by the Deputy Prime Minister.

The truth of the matter is the Liberal record. Their record is one of arrogance and mismanagement, obviously things that do not stand well with Canadians. I am wondering how they can possibly ask Canadians to put their trust in them when they have not earned it here in this place.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Auditor General's Report
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LIB

Herb Gray

Liberal

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I reject completely the totally unfounded premise of the hon. member's question.

When it is a matter of trust, I suggest that whenever Canadians are asked to make their judgment at the ballot box they will agree that this government has earned the trust of Canadians, not only on its good record but its forward looking plan to bring Canadians successfully into the 21st century and not move them backward in a mean-spirited way as the Alliance would do in the unlikely event it was given the chance.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Auditor General's Report
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BQ

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold (Jonquière, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, in Wednesday's economic statement, the Minister of Finance chose clearly to favour the well off over the middle classes and the disadvantaged.

He admitted in this morning's Citizen that dollar for dollar, his economic statement gave more money back to wealthy taxpayers.

Does the Minister of Finance think that the people will not understand the move intended first to lower the taxes of the rich, when the middle class and the poor are the source of the incredible surpluses they are swimming in?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Economic Policy
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LIB

Jim Peterson

Liberal

Hon. Jim Peterson (Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, that is not true.

In our projection, the vast majority of our tax cuts are for low and middle income Canadians. This is exactly what we did in our budget. We concentrated tax cuts for Canadians who need them most.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Economic Policy
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BQ

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold (Jonquière, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, since Wednesday we have been criticizing the election goodies and electoral cynicism of the Minister of Finance.

We realize today that when the House dissolves on Sunday many of these goodies, including the funds for the environment, will vanish.

Does the Minister of the Environment realize that the public will not look kindly at all on this manipulation of parliamentary institutions?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Economic Policy
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LIB

David Anderson

Liberal

Hon. David Anderson (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the hon. member has understood that in the budget for 2000 we set aside some $640 million in new dollars for the environment, especially for the greenhouse gases. In addition, we added $500 million to that in the speech the Minister of Finance gave a few days ago.

The figure has increased by $1.2 billion in the past eight months, something the hon. Bloc Quebecois member should be proud of.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Economic Policy
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REF

Ken Epp

Reform

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, occasionally rooms for committees get changed. When that happens members of parliament make a quick phone call to the clerk's office to find out where the committee is. In this particular instance, we have not one, not two, but eight Liberal members all of whom, coincidentally, failed to phone the clerk's office to find out where this meeting was being held.

How can the government ask Canadians to believe its explanation that it could not find the room?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Standing Committee On Public Accounts
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?

The Speaker

I am having a hard time making a connection here with the responsibility of the government. I would judge the question to be out of order. If the government House leader wishes to respond he may.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Standing Committee On Public Accounts
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October 20, 2000